My name is Tanya Branco and I have a BS degree in Exercise Science. I am currently working towards a Masters of Science in Nutrition. During the day, I work full time as a cardiology technician. In the evening, I work part-time as a personal trainer, Pilates and aerobic instructor. In the fall I will start training as an echocardiogram technician, in hope that I will someday work part-time as an echocardiogram technician and have my own full time nutrition business.
Two hobbies that I am truly passionate about are dancing and fitness. One of my most memorable experiences as a dancer was my four years as a New England Patriots Cheerleader and dancing at the 1996 Super Bowl in New Orleans. When I was sixteen years old, I danced for the Onstage Dance Company. The woman, who was the owner and instructor, was a former Patriots Cheerleader. In her studio, she kept photographs on the wall of her cheerleading days. Every time I walked into her studio for practice, I would look at the pictures on the wall and think to myself when I am old enough I will audition for the New England Patriots Cheerleading Squad. It became a dream of mine that I had to achieve.
At nineteen years old, I auditioned for the first time at the Copley Place in Boston, MA. I made it to the finals, but unfortunately was cut just before the new squad was chosen. I left feeling thrilled that I had made it to the finals, because this gave me hope that I would eventually make it. The director at that time contacted the girls, who had made it to the finals, to give them some information that might be helpful for auditions in the upcoming years. I was told that I just looked too young to be part of the squad, since a good portion of their time was spent doing promotions at locations where bars were.
At twenty-two years old, I auditioned again and made the squad. I remember that day vividly! I cheered for four years and had the time of my life. I made some wonderful friends that I still keep in touch with today.
The other hobby that I have recently become very passionate about is fitness. During my college years, I realized I loved fitness and wanted to make it my career. I was an exercise science major and probably like most college students, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with my degree, but I knew I loved the studies. I was very active all my life and my interest in sports, dancing, gymnastics and cheerleading continued into my college years. I began to teach aerobics during college. My first class that I taught was for the faculty. I was then asked to teach for the football team, and believe it or not, I did! I also taught at Disney World during the summer of my sophomore year. After graduating, I continued to teach at different fitness centers in the area and started to get involved in personal training and teaching Pilates.
To keep abreast of the fitness industry, I would read books and periodicals on fitness and nutrition. Magazines such as Oxygen, Muscle and Fitness, etc., I found were very informative. Oxygen magazine is where I first read about fitness competitions. I decided to compete in my first competition in 2001. This competition was Fitness Atlantic Pageant in Connecticut. I asked a good friend of mine, Mike D’Angelo, who is very successful in the fitness industry, about this organization. He spoke very highly of the show and this motivated me to compete.
I often have people ask me why I want to compete. Where will it take me? Well, besides loving the challenge of eating as healthy as I can to prepare for a show, trying to come up with an exciting routine that will entertain the audience, and the feeling of accomplishment when the show is over, I am also hoping that I can pursue a dream of mine of becoming a fitness model. I have met so many terrific people through competing who have already given me helpful advice to achieve this goal. I will continue to work hard towards a dream that I think about too often to let go of.
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